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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beta Readers, Critiques, and Editing, Oh My


Last week, I mentioned how I'd finally gone back and re-read one of my books. I read it and sent it to one of my CPs who also read it and made a few comments. Comments I agreed with. Comments I wanted to address. Only I'd decided to put out a call for beta readers and had already done so. So I sent off the same old, needing-work version to these readers...

Unlike critique partners, who are generally writers, beta readers can be either or both. I wanted readers only so they'd be focused on the story and not on the writing. I've had a total of six responses so far, which is awesome, but the last two ladies are on hold until after revisions.

One gal read it and sent back her thoughts within 24 hours. WOW and thanks. She had positive things to say, which was very nice indeed. She also expressed a wish that there had been more. More in general and more specifically about a certain character, as well as story for the secondary character. It just so happens that I've written that character's story, though it's not quite finished yet.I had a few questions about specific things and asked. She got back to me with those.

I've heard back from all four of the original volunteers. They all had very complimentary things to say about the book. Along with the gal above, I was able to ask one other reader some specific questions about the book and received a helpful response. Both those ladies expressed interest/willingness to re-read the first book as well as read the second book. I'm very excited about this prospect.

Monday, I talked about my writers group celebration. What I didn't mention is that I won a door prize--and the only reason I mention it now is because I won a critique from an editor at The Wild Rose Press. I get to send in the first 15 manuscript pages and up to 5 pages of synopsis. I'm very interested in what she thinks and has to say. I tried working on the synopsis yesterday, but it's kicking my butt.

In addition to all that, I finally heard back from Samhain Publishing about a Final Line Editor position. They sent the first of a two-step testing process, a partial manuscript, which I read through once last week and done what it is I'm applying to do. They require two read-throughs and so I' perform the second pass some time today. Should I pass the first test, I'll get a 12K word complete manuscript to work on next. *fingers crossed*

And if all that wasn't enough, I'm negotiating a freelance editing gig. Woot!

I'm tired just thinking about it, but looking forward to finally moving forward, both with my writing and with the editing.

If you're a writer, have you ever used beta readers? If so, how was your experience?

5 comments:

Lara said...

I love my beta readers--they're fabulous, and they really help point out weaknesses or issues that I can't see because I'm too close to the work.

Lynne Kensington said...

I have an extraordinary beta reader who may soon be too busy working as a line editor to look over my work. :P

Seriously, I try to use them all the time, but I am very, very fussy in who I pick. I want someone who's going to be honest and give me critical feedback, as well as pointing out what works. I am down to just the one now, although I haven't kept her very busy of late since I've been focusing on a first draft original fic. And currently, that's even sidelined for the reasons I told you about.

Jen FitzGerald said...

Well, Lynne, I'm not really a beta reader, am I? I guess so, coming from the fan fic world. :)

Absolutely, Lara.

Regina Richards said...

I have five beta readers I rely on. Three are writers themselves, though none write in my genre. Two are not writers, just readers.

The readers are not as likely to see nitpicky things as the writers, but they are harder to please in some ways because they are not as specific as the writers about why something does or doesn't move them.

Jen FitzGerald said...

Good points, Regina! Thanks for sharing.

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America